Today is the first Future-Casting Friday, folks! And it IS tasseography that we’re studying this summer for divination. So let’s go over some basics on how to read tea leaves.
Tea reading is very personal- the leaves will forecast YOUR future, either within weeks, months, or years…maybe even your next life! I don’t know how you’d divine that (ha, see what I did there?), but it’s a possibility for someone who may believe in reincarnation. The best person qualified to read your leaves is you yourself because of the symbols inside. Remember us talking about symbols in the last post? It’s still true here- a shark in your cup may mean great things for you, and be a horrid omen for your best friend. It’s all in how you feel and think about symbols. And it’s okay to share the ‘stereotypical’ meaning of certain symbols as the rest of our fellow humans! It’s perfectly fine to think of an owl as something wise and a crow as the bearer of bad news, because it’s tradition and tradition has a lot of meaning behind it. It’s not there for nothing. If you have a different opinion from the norm, that’s great too!
Okay, so now how do you go about reading tea leaves? Other professional readers strongly recommend an actual tea cup and saucer, like we were Brits way back in the day having tea with the Queen. Dainty tea cups, okay? I too recommend that, because I’ve tried this before in a regular mug, and had immense difficulty reading the damn shapes inside the walls of my dark ass mug. It’s too tall and straight and it gets dark in there. The bowled out walls of a tea cup are perfect for me. Try it yourself though, it’s personal taste.
You may be saying ‘alright Wheynet, I’m a staunch Earl Grey drinker, from a bag no less, do I have to go out and buy fancy loose-leaf from some obscure location?’ Definitely not! I mean, if you want to, yes, do it. But otherwise, I have crap tons of tea bags at home (I drink tea all the time), and use the leaves from them! Some professionals happily condone this, some hate it, but like everything else, it’s up to you and your personal feelings. There are some teas that are super leafy or twiggy, and you have to try some out to determine what you like. I’m partial to Jasmine actually, I think it has a nice balance. But when I drink for myself without reading, I’m an Earl Grey and Oolong kid. So, grab your tea bag, cut it open, but DO NOT dump it all into your cup! Good god don’t do that. There’s a butt-ton more tea in that bag than you think, use HALF. Pinch it out with your fingers. If you use it all, or a little more than three quarters, your cup will be so clogged that you won’t get any shapes. My first reading was with a whole bag, and I had to be really fucking rough with my cup and leaves to get anything recognizable. Save yourself a disappointing first time and start small haha. If you want to use sugar, use it, if not then don’t. I almost never use sugar in my reading cup, but when I do, it’s a weird feeling in my gut that I should. It comes into play with my next reading too, I’ll show you when we get there.
Alright, your leaves are in the cup, hot water poured over them, they’re steeping. Now what? There are steps.
1. Clear your mind while they’re steeping. Sit tight and quiet, and just relax. Meditate if you like. Is there anything that keeps bugging you when you’re trying to clear out? Something nagging you? Think about it, let it happen. If not, this may be a general reading, and that’s just great!
2. Use your non-dominant hand to hold the cup when you’re ready to drink. And you can drink some of the leaves if they’re floating, but you can move them out of the way too. It’s safe to ingest.
3. If there was something you couldn’t get off your mind while it was steeping, then focus on it, it’ll be the subject of the reading. And again, if there was nothing, then drink peacefully!
4. When you’re getting to the end of your sipping, leave a bit of liquid at the bottom, because that’s going to help your leaves take shape in a second. Swirl it three times (because that is the number of so many faiths, everything is in threes, triads) and then turn it upside down. If you have a saucer for your cup, just turn it over on it. If you don’t, get a plate, or just turn it over above the sink, it’s not a big deal. Let it all run out and wait a moment.
5. Now it’s time to read! So here’s where we may take the most time during the whole ordeal. I sit for a while looking at my masses of tea leaves trying to discern shapes, and it always takes a moment for my mind to get into gear. Grab a piece of paper or open a note on your phone- we’re going to write down our symbols.
Start looking at the leaves from the handle of the cup (if there is one, and if not, start and the point closest to you), and go clockwise from there. Now, there’s levels inside your cup: the rim, which represents the present (about an inch wide, but maybe less depending on your feelings); then there’s the middle which is the near future of around a week to a month (again, about an inch wide for me and my cup), and it’s below the rim; and then the base which is the distant future or the outcome of your situation (especially if you had something on your mind while trying to relax). The base is also almost an entire inch for me, but also encompasses, guess what- the base! Haha yes I’m super funny. The bottom of the cup.
So look for shapes, turn the cup sideways, look at it upside down, front ways and back ways and long ways and any other ways you can think of. Mine are always upside down from my handle point. Now, to start, you can look up symbols from other tea readers or make up your own, whatever makes you feel better. I’ve been starting my own symbol dictionary because of what the symbols mean to me personally. But there are a few universal things that professionals seem to agree on: twigs, bubbles, letters, and droplets of tea.
Twigs are people, either visiting or signifying them in general, people that you know or will know. Bubbles signify money. I consider it an abundance of money, but if could be a warning that your bubble may burst and be left with NO money. It’s up to interpretation. Letters, tea leaves shaped into letters of the alphabet, are the first letter of someone’s name. I have yet to experience much of the letter bit. But it means they will play a part in your life, coming into the reading. And then droplets are a symbol of tears or sadness. It’s not often that I’ve seen droplets, so it’s not like you’re going to see them often…unless you’re coming to a sad or depressing point of your life.
The last thing about reading your tea leaf symbols: it’s about what they mean to you. A shape like 3 can be a multitude of things. The number three or an E or a drawing of a bird (which also look like Ms or an upside-down W) or a sloping mountain or hill! It’s what YOU feel when you look at it. That’s how it’s going to make sense to you and feel right. You have to agree with your own symbolism, whether it’s what you make it, or if you match up with other’s take on it. You know, there’s even a sub-reddit, I believe that helps interpret your leaves if you’re having trouble. Look it up, have some fun.
I’ll leave you with a quote I quite like from tasseography.com. “…tasseography is not an application of magic, but rather a tool for tapping into the subconscious by applying meditation to pattern recognition and symbolism.”